Teacher Professional Development in Washington


Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction website on professional development

Washington Professional Education and Certification
(The following information is directly quoted from Washington State Department of Professional Education and Certification Office website.)

The Professional Education and Certification Office has the following mission:
  • To support the preparation and continuing education of educators who positively contribute to student learning.
  • To verify the preparation and continuing education of educators who positively contribute to student learning.

The Professional Education Office verifies preparation, advancement, and continuing education for individual certification applicants, ensuring they meet or exceed state requirements. This office also verifies preparation and continuing education for individual certification applicants, ensuring they meet or exceed state requirements.
Certification staff:
  • Inform applicants about certification requirements, how requirements may be met, and the status of applications/certificates;
  • Coordinate with Washington colleges/universities for issuance of certificates to program completers;
  • Assist employers in expediting certification actions for current and prospective employees;
  • Issue certificates and maintain educator certification records for the state.

Washington Teaching Certificates
Residency Certificate: Valid for the first seven years of teaching
Professional Certificate: Valid for renewable five year periods
Certificates website
Certification Forms website

Continuum of Teacher Development – Four Phase Process
  1. Recruitment Phase (High School)
  2. Collegiate Phase
  3. Induction Phase: Participate in the Teacher Assistance Program (TAP); Develop a Professional Growth Plan (PGP); Complete a College/University Professional Certificate Program (after two years of teaching); Meet Provisional Status; Earn Professional Certificate; and, Participate in Professional Development Activities.
  4. Retention Phase: Meet Requirements to Renew the Professional Certificate; Continue to use Professional Growth Plan to Enhance Skills and Knowledge; Contribute to the Profession (mentor, teaching academy, university adjunct); and/or,op Pursue National Board Certification (optional).

Teacher Assistance Programs (TAP)
The Teacher Assistance Program provides interested school districts with funds for beginning assistance through the iGrants process. With these funds, districts agree to support new teachers with mentoring from experienced, exemplary teachers, as well as with training for new teachers and mentors, opportunities to observe each other and other teachers, and assistance with professional growth planning.

Standards and Criteria for Professional Certification
Standards and Criteria website
This document contains the 3 standards and 12 criteria for Professional Certification. Teachers must demonstrate competency of all 12 criteria. The standards and criteria can be found in WAC 181-78A-540.

Descriptions of Practice

“At Standard” statements for each of the twelve criteria.

Professional Growth Plan

Form for completing the Professional Growth Plan during the Pre-Assessment Seminar.
One form will be completed for each criterion selected.

Steps to Professional Certification
Steps to certification website

This sequence outlines the steps for a newly certified, beginning teacher. Advanced Track candidates complete Steps 2 and 3.

Step 1
  • Complete First Year of Teaching
  • Participation in Teacher Assistance Program (if available)

Step 2
  • Apply to Program
  • Eligibility Requirements - State: Candidate must hold a valid Washington Teaching Certificate; hold a contract as a teacher in a public or state board of education approved private school or state agency providing educational services for students. Must complete Provisional status and/or have District support letter. Universities: Each program application is unique to that university. Common elements generally include a copy of the teaching certificate, transcripts and letters of recommendation. Programs combined with a Masters degree usually have additional application requirements

The following components are similar in all the programs. Specific seminar content, credit designations, timelines, and Core structure vary from program to program.

Step 3
  • Pre-Assessment Seminar - This seminar serves as an introduction to reflective practice and the Professional Certificate requirements. The candidate reflects on all 12 criteria to identify areas in which she/he has strengths and the areas in which she/he needs to increase capacity. Candidates develop their Professional Growth Plan. Some universities allow candidates to take the Pre-Assessment Seminar without being fully admitted to the program.

Step 4
  • Core - Time between Pre-Assessment and Culminating Seminars when the candidate works to fulfill their Professional Growth Plan and prepare to demonstrate competence in all areas. The Core should include learning opportunities that will facilitate the acquisition of additional skills and knowledge as outlined in the PGP. This can be college/university credit, clock hours, or a combination of both. Some universities will count Core credits towards completion of a Masters Degree.

Step 5
  • Culminating Seminar - Final development of portfolio and demonstration of the 3 standards and 12 criteria.

Step 6
  • Receive the Professional Certificate - The Professional Certificate must be maintained with the equivalent of 150 clock hours in a five year period.

Contact Washington Professional Education and Certification:
Old Capitol Building, PO Box 47200, Olympia, WA 98504-7200
(360) 725-6000 TTY (360) 664-3631
Email: cert@k12.wa.us

For additional information on Washington renewal of teaching certificates, see the Washington State Department of Education website.

Page content provided by Loraine D. Enloe